Our racing expert likes the look of a couple of jumpers this afternoon.
A field of eight has been declared for this afternoon’s 3m handicap chase at Exeter (due off 4.10pm) and the vast majority have already hit the ceiling of their ability, with the exception of THREE FACES WEST.
The eight-year-old showed ability when trained by Donald McCain, racking up a hat-trick over hurdles, and he has shown promise as a chase for his new trainer Philip Hobbs, being placed on all three outings. The most recent of those efforts came over track and trip last month when chasing home Milansbar, with the pair well clear of the third, and the winner has since boosted the form by running second in the Midlands National.
With just a couple of chase starts under his belt, the selection should have more improvement in him and should also be suited by today’s better ground. He will also have the services of Richard Johnson who was on board stablemate Bertie Boru last time. That horse has more experience over fences but his jumping has gone to pieces of Kate and he unseated the champion-jockey elect at Sandown last time.
A bigger danger looks to be Drop Out Joe, who won the Badger Ales Trophy earlier this season, but he has shot up in the weights as a result and carries top weight here. Scottish National winner Godsmejudge is also respected and he will appreciate today’s ground, though this trip would be the bare minimum for him.
Sue Smith is having a cracking month with four winners from 16 runners in the last fortnight alone and her stable debutant WOLF SWORD can keep the good run going in the 2m51/2f handicap chase at Wetherby (due off 4.55pm).
A bumper and hurdle winner for George Moore, he has always looked the type to make a nice chaser and, while he hasn’t shown much in three starts over the larger obstacles so far, he has been running over trips short of his best and on unsuitable ground, struggling on heavy over 2m4f at Ayr last time.
Today’s stiffer test and better ground – they are calling it ‘good to soft’ – should be more to his liking then and he looks well treated too, having been dropped to a mark 7lb lower than his best hurdles rating. A change of scenery should also help him get back on the winning trail.
A £10 double on today’s selections would payout £90 if successful at the current bet365 odds.